Annual Volunteer Recognition Reception Celebrates Campus Community Service Leaders

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Photo Credit: Alper House
By: Lily Gordon, Class of 2015

"I value being a link in the chain of service," shared Blackstone Bikes Youth Mentor, Southside resident, punster, and University of Chicago sports fan, Tyjuan 'Top 50' Edwards.

"'Top 50' has brought funding, academic opportunities, nutritional lunches, and hope to an after-school program that was struggling to do more than teach kids how to construct bikes," read one of Edwards' three nominations for the 2012 Community Partner Award.  The award, which Edward has received, is one of the seven with which the University Community Service Center (UCSC) recognizes students, staff, faculty, and community members annually. 

UCSC wants to thank these individuals for lending their skills, talents, and service to others," said Amy Chan, UCSC Director and Associate Dean of Students.

May 21 marks UCSC's fifteenth Annual Volunteer Recognition Reception (AVRR).

 University of Chicago students, staff, and faculty nominate individuals or groups for awards including: the Staff Service Award, the Faculty Service Award, the Edward R. Turkington House Service Award, and the Community Partner Award.

 "We like to shine a spotlight on community engagement to show that it's possible to integrate service into the rest of your student or work life," said Chan.

 Klaas Heinrich Van Der Wey, UCSC Operations Director, added, "A huge emphasis of the event is recognizing everyone's efforts--award winners, nominees, and all of those who helped out [with service projects]."

 UCSC received 33 nominations this year for the awards. While this number slightly smaller than it has been in previous years, Van Der Wey, who reviews the nominations with other UCSC senior staff as well as University staff, said that the pool was deep with worthy candidates.

 Dr. Mari Egan, Assistant Professor and Director of Medical Student Education at the U of C's Pritzker School of Medicine, will receive this year's Faculty Service Award.

 "As a teacher in the medical school, helping our future doctors understand the importance of community health and service is one of my most important goals," she said. "And by working with kids and schools in our community, we [aim to] mentor and inspire children."

 Susan Curry, the Director of Public Interest Law & Policy at the Law School has also encouraged students to pursue public interest careers. In addition to emphasizing public service and volunteer work to law students, Curry, this year's recipient of the Staff Service Award, has been instrumental in the creation of the Law School's new Loan Repayment Assistance Program.  The program offers to make the payments that public interest graduates would otherwise have to make on student loans, "essentially providing free legal education to Law School alumni who dedicate their careers to public service," read Curry's nomination.

 This year, the residents of Alper House from Max Palevsky East will be awarded the Edward R. Turkington House Service Award, after completing several community service projects this year.

 "We love gardening; we've gardened for the Ray School and for Brickyard Garden a couple of times. We've also helped out with distributing groceries at a food pantry, participated in a few UCSC Days of Service, and served dinner at Ronald McDonald House," said Alper House Service Chair Emily Hatch. "The award speaks to the exceptional dedication to service and engagement that our house has demonstrated all year. I'm glad that [the award] provides encouragement and reinforcement to continue to act this way in the future."

 Come and applaud these standout individuals at the Annual Volunteer Recognition Reception on May 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Gordon Center for Integrative Science.

Find out more:

University Community Service Center

Blackstone Bicycle Works

Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program

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Kathy said:

Congrats to Alper House. What a great group of kids!

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